How to choose the right mattress for your residents

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When was the last time you replaced the mattresses for your aged care residents?

Depending on their level of use, a good quality mattress should last between 6 and 10 years. This is one piece of inventory that’s often overlooked so there’s a good chance you could be overdue for an upgrade.

So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade? Here’s a couple of telltale signs that a mattress needs replacing.

First, check to see if there’s any visible wear on the outer cover. Then, push two fists into the centre of the mattress. If you can feel the base of the bed or the mattress inner doesn’t bounce back straight away, it’s possibly time for a new one.

Comfort and the need to alleviate pressure and pain are all vital considerations when shopping for a replacement model. Some mattresses offer more immersion than others. This allows bony prominences to ‘sink’ into the surface. Other mattresses will ‘push back’ against a person’s body weight, offering firmer support.

One of the most popular mattresses in our industry is high quality viscoelastic foam (also known as ‘memory foam’). Check the thickness of this foam and how much of the surface area is actually covered. Some cheaper mattresses only contain a small amount of foam which isn’t sufficient to support elderly residents and their fragile skin.

You’ll also need a mattress designed to ‘profile’ or move with your electric beds. When residents adjust the head or foot position of their beds, the mattress needs to move with it.

Make sure you look for high quality waterproof covers that will stretch – this will allow immersion and envelopment so the foam can deliver its full benefits. Sealed seams and heavy duty stitching will also improve durability so your mattresses will last the distance.

The Alova and Posture-Temp are both great options, as the high quality viscoelastic foam provides excellent pressure relief and meet all of the above requirements.

Residents who have open wounds or are at high risk of developing pressure injuries may benefit from an alternating air mattress rather than a foam one. An air pump regularly inflates and deflates alternate pockets of air inside these mattresses to relieve pressure and help wounds to heal. It’s always sensible to consider a resident’s Waterlow or Braden score to determine their risk of developing a pressure injury. This will assist in deciding what numbers of each level of mattress would suit your facility.

Finally, remember that ‘less is best’. To experience the full benefits these high quality mattresses offer, we recommend covering them with a loose sheet only and avoid adding electric blankets and other layers.

The technology contained inside the range of mattresses available today (including different foam layers, densities, physical construction and internal ventilation flow) impact how they actually feel.

So until your residents lie on a mattress, you won’t really know for sure whether you’ve made the right choice. That’s why Cubro offers a 1 – 2 week mattress trial to aged care facilities so you have time to assess your initial decision before placing a bulk order.